Review: f-stop Shinn DuraDiamond
For a few years now, I've been using a photo backpack from f-stop, more precisely the 80-litre giant called Shinn. It had already been through a lot, but was still in an almost new condition. As a new ambassador of the f-stop brand, I now had the opportunity to switch to the new version of the backpack. I will show you the advantages of the new DuraDiamond version in this article. You can find my opinion about the original version of the f-stop Shinn here.
What's new compared to the original version
All in all, I was very satisfied with the old f-stop Shinn. The 80l capacity is just right for me to carry telephoto and a few other lenses with a second camera. With the old version, however, there were a few things that bothered me a tiny bit. Fortunately, this has all been fixed in the new version, and the new version also comes with a few other updates.
The most striking change in the new variant (left) is the new material called DuraDiamond.
The new DuraDiamond material
The most fundamental change of the new Shinn variant is the fabric, called DuraDiamond. The fabric seems a little more rubbery, but it is also much more elastic. If you really have a lot of luggage, you will probably be able to fit a bit more into the backpack. In addition, the backpack seems to be even more weatherproof thanks to the new fabric.
A new backpanel
The new feature I was most pleased about is the new backpanel. This was previously a weak point of the Shinn. Before, there were only two small pockets on the inside of the backpanel, and they could only be opened halfway and were generally not very practical. The new backpanel now offers two larger pockets and there are also 5 small memory card pockets. One of the two larger pockets is transparent and made of a very high-quality composite of fabric and plastic. In addition, the laptop sleeve is now also built into the backpanel. My 16" laptop fits perfectly and the graphics tablet would also fit. However, there is one small problem: the Velcro fastener to keep the laptop in the sleeve is positioned in such a way that the laptop can slip out quite far. Large and heavy laptops can protrude over the edges of the backpanel when it is open. If the backpanel is opened with too much momentum, the laptop could even be damaged. Apart from that, I really like the new pockets on the inside of the back panel and the repositioning of the laptop sleeve, and I could already put the new pockets to good use. Finally no more memory cards flying around in the pocket above the ICU....
The inside of the back panel has been redesigned and is now much more useful.
A new carrying system
The carrying geometry has been slightly revised in the new version and the hip belt has been given a new buckleless closure system. The new system of closing the hip belt takes some time to get used to, but in the long run the new system is certainly an advantage. The buckles, which were already extremely robust in the older version, have been replaced by an even more robust system.
The carrying straps are generally made of a somewhat more robust material; after a few days, the straps become softer and therefore more comfortable. Overall, the carrying comfort is very high. In any case, I have never carried 20 kg of photo equipment around more comfortably.
The buckle of the older version was already very robust...
... but the hip belt of the new version is even better.
Other small updates
The sides of the backpack have also been revised and a net for a water bottle has been added to each side. The side pockets have also been slightly adjusted and supplemented with another small pocket.
Last but not least, the two hand straps for lifting the backpack have been made a little thicker and padded. This makes handling the backpack a little more comfortable.
The sides of the backpack have also been revised and a net for a water bottle has been added to each side.
As usual from f-stop, the quality of the backpack is extremely good. The new features have made the backpack even more stable, making it an ideal backpack for adventures in nature.
The backpack is well made throughout.
Weight & comfort
Thanks to new materials, the new version is a touch lighter than its predecessor. However, at 120 g, the difference is not huge, and together with the ICU, the rucksack still weighs an impressive 4.6 kg. So the f-stop Shinn is not the lightest backpack. But it wasn't designed for that either and the good carrying system makes the load to be carried seem surprisingly light. However, the weight that the backpack brings along is definitely worth it. The quality of the backpack, the carrying comfort and above all the protection of the cameras and lenses are more important to me than the weight.
General verdict and recommendation
At just under 600 Swiss francs, the f-stop Shinn with Cine Master ICU is rather on the expensive side as far as backpacks go. However, the price is reflected in the quality of the backpack and anyone working with large prime lenses, cinema cameras or a large amount of lenses and other equipment will be very happy with the Shinn. Especially since there are only a few alternatives in this size category. If you are travelling with a less equipment the Shinn might be a little bit too large for you. In that case you will surely be happy with a smaller f-stop backpack, such as the Tilopa.
Those who travel with a lot of equipment will be very happy with the Shinn.
To conclude this review, I am very satisfied with the update of the Shinn. The minor flaws of the previous version have been fixed and what I consider to be the best photo backpack for wildlife photographers has become even better!